core team

The Core team comes from eclectic backgrounds and between them have wide ranging and in-depth experience across sectors, within global enterprises and FTSE 100 businesses, VC backed start-ups, voluntary organisations and large public sector bodies.

Paul Dickens Guy Hughes Julie Higginbottom
Milda Zinkus Martin Hird John Teasdale
Paul Dickens BA(Hons), MPhil, AFBPsS, CPsychol, CertHSM, AIBC MCMI
Paul Dickens

Calm. Intellectual. Reasoned.

Paul is a Chartered Psychologist. He has a massive amount of experience and has been doing this job for years all over the world. He is our composed, unflappable voice of reason.

Paul was educated at Exeter and Glasgow Universities, and has a B.A. in Psychology and an M.Phil. in Clinical Psychology. He is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Member of the Chartered Institute of Management and Chairs the Board of ELCAP. His breadth of experience means he is often to be found working with company boards, helping them become more effective.

Paul is the author of two books, including the established academic text "Quality and Excellence in Human Services", along with numerous articles for professional journals.

Mobile: +44 (0)7753 683 960

Guy Hughes MCIPD
Guy Hughes

Dynamic. Driven. Entrepreneurial.

Guy knows business inside out and he brings a balance, commercial drive and hunger to the team which gives us an extra edge. He is incredibly good with organisational systems, having previously been an HR Director in defence, technology and retail sectors. He has also held General Management positions.

He started his career in retail. After joining BAE Systems he had a number of national and international roles until, ultimately, he was appointed the HR Director for the £750m turnover Sensor Systems Division. Subsequently he has worked in Private Equity backed organisations and supports early stage companies in their development and sits on several Advisory Boards.

Whilst a true generalist in both HR and business, Guy’s real passion is in helping HR functions develop a truly commercial focus in all that they do.

Martin Hird B.A. (Hons); M.Sc.; M.A.
Martin Hird

Creative. Engaging. Challenging

Martin is that rare thing: a senior executive whose experience has spanned both academia and industry. For us this brings the ideal blend of cutting edge thinking in his field with the practical knowledge of what business's need and what works.

Following graduation and initial employment with the Dunlop Group he entered higher education becoming Dean of the business faculty at Humberside Polytechnic whilst also operating an OD/Development consultancy. He then held a number of senior and Board level HR positions within blue chip organisations including BAE Systems, McLaren Group and Royal Mail.

He is a leading thinker on HR and is a published author. His expertise covers areas such as talent management, leadership development and HR functional structures and team development. He is accredited in a range of psychometrics including OPQ, Motivation Q, MBTI Expanded Version, Firo B, Hogan HDS and the Emotional and Social Intelligence Inventory. He has acted as a coach to a number of senior executives.

He is a Fellow of Lancaster University where he is an Executive Director for the Centre for Performance Led HR. In addition to research and teaching within the Centre he works with clients up to and including Board level executives. Martin has authored and co-authored white papers on the subject of HR and HR Functions and is the co-author of the cutting edge book "Leading HR".

Julie Higginbottom

Insightful. Intuitive. Independent

Julie is known for having a practical business focus coupled with strong intellectually curiosity. Her ability to rapidly build trust with people means they are more ready to accept challenge from her. Her forthright and down to earth approach blended with strong commercial acumen appeals particularly to the private sector.

After completing a post graduate diploma in Personnel Management at Kingston University and initial employment with the Tesco Plc, she then held a number of senior HR/OD positions within blue chip organisations including The Littlewoods Organisation and Scottish & Newcastle Plc.

Her expertise covers areas such as change management, organisation design, building a performance culture and all aspects of talent management. She is comfortable working at both a strategic and operational level. Julie has a proven track record of delivering projects in complex operational environments and has worked across the Retail, Manufacturing, FMCG and Contact Centre sectors.

Julie splits her time between consulting and her voluntary commitments. Currently she is a volunteer for the Cranfield Trust who provides management consultancy support to voluntary organisations.

John Teasdale

Pragmatic, Intuitive, Challenging

John has over 20 years experience in the field of Employee Relations. John recently retired from the position of Head of Employee Relations with Lloyds Banking Group. Prior to retiring John led the ER teams in consultations with the unions regarding over 15,000 job reductions together with the negotiations to harmonise T & Cs across the 120,000 workforce.

John has an excellent understanding of UK employment legislation and its practical impacts. In particular John has a detailed knowledge of the legal and practical issues surrounding TUPE, Redundancy, Contracts of Employment, Managing Individual Issues and Change Management.

John led the ground-breaking Partnership Agreement in HBOS between the Company, Accord and Unite. This has been hailed as a 'best in class' agreement by the TUC and a sound example of how modern employee relations should operate, by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

Milda Zinkus BA Hons (Oxon) MSc.
Milda Zinkus

Supportively Direct. Engaging. Values-led

Milda has over 20 years of experience working in a variety of large corporate organisations, including Unilever, Northern Foods and The Royal Bank of Scotland, in a variety of HR, OD and leadership development roles and includes 7 years as an independent consultant. Her client base covers a broad range of organisations from large financial services organisations through to small not-for-profit voluntary organisations and most points in-between.

Milda has a law degree from Oxford University and a Masters in Organisational Behaviour from the University of London. Her work is based on dialogic and whole systems thinking, Appreciative Inquiry and Emotional Intelligence. All of these, however, are applied pragmatically and accessibly. Milda is highly skilled in bringing together her knowledge and practical experience in an engaging, constructive and delivery focused way.

Milda's work includes one-to one coaching, design and delivery of leadership development interventions, facilitation – from small teams through to large consultative events of 100+ people using Open Space Technology - and supporting organisational change. The common denominator is her belief that effective conversations and strong relationships will unlock the majority of individual and organisational blockages.